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COLBERT, GEORGE (ca. 1764-1839)

George Colbert (Tootemastubbe) was the second oldest of five mixed-blood sons of the trader James Logan Colbert and his second wife, Minta Hoya. Prospering from the mercantile trade, farming, and stock raising, Colbert and his brothers dominated the tribal affairs of the Chickasaw through removal.

Colbert's military exploits gave him influence in the tribal council and brought him into contact with George Washington and Andrew Jackson. He served as a major under Arthur St. Clair in 1791 and Anthony Wayne in 1794 and was commissioned a colonel by Washington for his service. He also helped raise 350 Chickasaw auxiliaries and served under Jackson in the Creek War of 1813-14.

Senate and Officers of the Last Chickasaw Legislature Tishomingo, Indian Territory, 1905-1906. George Colbert is at the far left of the back row

While operating a ferry on the Natchez Trace on the Tennessee River from 1801 through 1819, he became a wealthy planter and emerged as leader of a powerful political clique. The U.S. government was forced to negotiate first with the Colberts at every treaty council through 1834, and Colbert received several tracts of land from his shrewd treaty negotiations.

Although he resisted Chickasaw land sales to the United States and removal, he emigrated west with his family and 150 slaves in 1838 establishing a sizable farming operation near Fort Towson. He died there on 7 November 1839.

SEE ALSO: AMERICAN INDIANS, CHICKASAW, COLBERT'S FERRY, FERRIES AND FORDS.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Grant Foreman, The Five Civilized Tribes: Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, Seminole (Norman: University of Oklahoma, 1934). Grant Foreman, Indian Removal: The Emigration of the Five Civilized Tribes of Indians (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1932). Arrell M. Gibson, The Chickasaws (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1971). Don Martini, Who Was Who Among the Southern Indians: A Genealogical Notebook (Falkner, Miss.: N.p., 1997).

James P. Pate

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